Q: I believe that death is only the beginning of a whole new series of lives and that after we die we come back to Earth (or perhaps some other planet) again and again. Why don’t Christians accept this idea? I think it gives us real hope. — K.M.L.
A: It’s true that Christians do not accept the idea of reincarnation (which is the name for the belief you outlined). Not only do they see no evidence for it, but they also realize it offers no real hope for lasting peace and joy.
Instead, Christians believe that once we die we enter eternity, either with God in that place of happiness called heaven or else in that place of loneliness and despair the Bible calls hell. Death is not the end for us; God has put something of himself within us, and just as he cannot die, neither can our souls die.
Why don’t we live on and on, constantly taking on new lives, as you suggested? The reason is because our greatest need is to be freed from our sins, for they alone separate us from God and from heaven. God is perfect and holy, and even one sin — just one — would be enough to keep us out of heaven. And even if we had a thousand lives, we could never erase sin’s stain.
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But God has provided the way for that stain to be removed! That way is Jesus Christ, who died on the cross as the final and complete sacrifice for our sins. The Bible says, “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:27-28). Christ alone is our hope, and I urge you to put your faith and trust in him today.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.